October 27, 2010

New trend revealed in Manitoba Human Rights Commission's 2009 Annual Report

"An important new trend in human rights complaints is the steady increase in those filed on the basis of mental disabilities," says Dianna Scarth, Executive Director of the Commission. "In the past three years, the average number of mental disability complaints has risen to between 25% and 28% of all disability complaints received during the year," she adds, noting that between 2000 and 2002 mental disability complaints comprised 16% of total disability complaints.

In response to this trend the Commission will add a new seminar to its package of educational programs. "As mental disabilities present unique challenges to employers and service providers, we are developing this new seminar to give practical advice," Scarth says, adding that the Accommodation of Employees with Mental Disabilities will be available to the public early in 2011. All of the Commission’s public seminars and workshops can be found on its website.

The Annual Report also speaks to complaints that are systemic in nature. According to Ms Scarth, these require extra time and resources to investigate, research and resolve. Once resolved, however, they benefit a group of people who have been systemically discriminated against.

She says that the Commission is using proactive ways of addressing systemic discrimination. For example, the Commission is now part of a coalition group, which includes the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Treaty Relations Commission. This group is working together to raise awareness of Human and Treaty Rights in Manitoba.

In his annual report message, Chairperson Jerry Woods writes, "For many years we have valued our basic right to work, to obtain services and to find housing without outdated prejudices getting in the way." The 2009 Annual Report is available on the Commission’s website at


For more information please contact
Patricia Knipe
Communications Director
Manitoba Human Rights Commission